WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 193 of 195

192 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 5 barefoot and brave, with Coppertone-lathered backs, those of us who grew up in the Kennedy and Carter eras will remember the famous high dive at Morses Pond in Wellesley. It jutted skyward to serve as a monument of our manhood or an edifice of our failure. Our only hope of success was Mr. Pike, the head swimming instructor, who marched us young charges through the official YMCA swimmer's stages like a man possessed. He knew the human body could at least float, so he took care of the rest. Our first stage of learning to swim was head-dunking in knee- deep water, and our last stage meant fashioning our pants into life preservers. Sandwiched in all this mayhem was the coveted milestone of hurtling oneself off the high dive. With enormous height provided by a gigantic, metal ladder, the scariest part of the high dive was the board itself; long and bouncy, wet and slippery, its narrowness teetered over the deepest part of the pond. The board taunted all comers to turn back. After scaling the ladder, you haltingly inched your goose- bumped body along the narrow board toward certain death, while simultaneously battling thirty-mile-per-hour cross- winds. The rest of the class, shivering from the wind and the fright, just like you, formed a line blocking all escape. It was either glorious victory or agonizing defeat. At that point, Mr. Pike made eye contact with you from his position at the end of the board. He told you to bend your knees as he gently countered your initial reluctance with a gentle "slap on the back." Naturally, gravity kicked in and you headed toward splashdown like the reentry of a rocket ship. For those frozen in a catatonic state, he grabbed you by the armpits and dropped you off the board without a word. If any- thing, he was decisive and quick. When you hit the water your swim trunks shot up to your armpits and water blasted up your nose. You could feel the cold increase as you headed downward toward mucky doom. It was one bubbly mess, but once you scrambled to the surface you realized two things: you hadn't drowned, and you had conquered the unthinkable – the high dive! Proud as a peacock, with the strut of a lifeguard, you could only hope that everyone on the beach and in the surrounding galaxy had borne witness to your triumph. For that summer afternoon, at least, you could conquer anything. This summer, go find a high dive and a Mr. Pike of your own. T.J. PALMER is a freelance newspaper writer and history teacher who once roamed the waters of Morses Pond but now swims and dives regularly in New Hampshire ' s Lake Winnipesaukee. narrative capturing a moment suburban sketches creative expressions your voice painting a portrait reflections To Live or Dive T. J . PA L M E R writer last but not least Be Creative This page is designed to give our readers the opportunity to express themselves creatively. If you have a short piece of fiction (300-500 words), a poem, illustration, or photo- graph depicting life in Wellesley and Weston, we would love to hear from you. Please email your submissions to jill@wellesley- westonmagazine.com.

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